Survivor Redemption Island Season Review
Now that this season of Survivor: Redemption Island is coming to a close tonight I have the opportunity (much like the final three contestants no doubt will in tonight’s episode) to look back on the season as a whole and decide how I feel about it all. I have to admit that I have mixed emotions.
There were some really good things that happened this season. At first I kind of liked the idea of having two past Survivor “All-Stars” come back and join the two tribes. The selection of Russell Hantz and Boston Rob was in inspired one because those two have an unfinished feud and they are both big personalities that know how to play the game. The experiment didn’t last too long as Russell was voted out early on then lost to Matt in the Redemption Island duel and was sent packing. So we never got to see how that might play out after a merge. Rob, however, flourished. He not only ran the show in his tribe, he controlled nearly every aspect of their lives and kept them together as a finely oiled machine that let nobody in. This served them well as they went to the merge and systematically picked off the players from the other tribe.
From a pure gameplay standpoint this season of Survivor has been interesting. The addition of Redemption Island has changed things up a lot. When someone is voted out, they might be back. That second chance element to the game gave it an interesting slant. It was also the reason that, for me, most of the people in the game are still pretty much unknowns.
This brings us to the bad side of this season of Survivor: Redemption Island. Normally, by now when we are down to the final show you know a lot about each of the remaining contestants and you can easily choose your favorites and those you dislike. With everything that has gone on this season the show has been very busy and has spent very little time letting us get to know any of the contestants. Basically, if the person isn’t Phillip, Rob or Matt (simply because of all the time he spend on Redemption Island), they have played a background role. We are going into the final show tonight and I still have trouble remembering a few people’s names. Even Grant who has basically been Rob’s right hand man remains mostly as mystery.
It seems like there are people here with some interesting stories, but the show has had so much going on that there just hasn’t been time to develop them. Each episode typically has had a Redemption Island duel, an immunity challenge and often a reward challenge. Add in a tribal council and there isn’t much time left for anything else. At times they combined the immunity and reward challenges into one, but still it seemed like each episode was pretty crowded.
Because of this I go into tonight’s finale having trouble deciding who I want to root for. Rob has played a nearly perfect game and is clearly deserving of winning on that basis. Phillip wants us to believe that he has been purposely acting crazy and if that is really the truth it has been a great strategy. The rest of the remaining players I know very little about and that is a shame. Because of this I find myself rooting for Mike. I don’t know much about him, but he served in the Marines and fought in Iraq. I think a guy like that deserves the money. It is a sad statement on the show when a loyal fan like me wants to give the money to someone not because of how they played the game, but because of who they are outside the game. I do this because, frankly, they have done such a bad job of letting us get to know everyone that I have no other real information to go on.
Hopefully, next season the producers of Survivor will realize that it isn’t the gimmicks that the fans like, it is finding interesting people that we can like and root for or hate and root against and that they need to leave themselves enough time in each episode to let us figure out who is who.
The finale of Survivor Redemption Island airs tonight at 8PM on CBS. Check it out and see who wins. It might even be someone whose name you know.
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